Psalm 22: 1 – 2
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
While hanging on the cross in torment Jesus said the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” On the surface of it these words are hard for us to hear, as it sounds like Jesus feels that God has abandoned him…if he were any other person we could certainly understand these feelings…but this is JESUS, the Son of God, how can he feel as if God has left him to suffer alone?
And even more startling to us is this: if God can abandon Jesus to die alone and in agony, then where does that leave us??
There may have been times in our lives when we have found ourselves wondering where God was…if we had been abandoned by God…especially when life as a single parent became overwhelming and we became stressed, tired, and even afraid. During these times we would pray for help and support, and it would feel as if no one was listening…we might even have reached out to others for support, only to find our calls for help unanswered!!
It is at times like these when we can begin to identify with how Jesus felt while on the cross…lost, alone and in pain from which there seemed no real escape…when hope seemed out of reach as it felt as if God was absent.
However, if we read further through the Psalm we see that Jesus was not really crying out to a God that was not there…but he was actually calling out to God for strength, for faith, and for the love that could see him through the horrible torment he was in as he was hanging from the cross. When read as a whole, the Psalm is really a song of praise for God’s presence in our lives, and a call for strength in times of trouble.
The Psalm reminds us that God is always with us, surrounding us with grace and love, and filling us with hope, even when things seem to be hopeless.
So if we are surrounded by God’s grace…why do we sometimes find ourselves in a tough spot, when it feels as if our prayers are not going just un-answered, but unheard??
Well, as I have learned in my life, and especially as a parent, sometimes the answer to our prayers is to wait…patience IS a virtue, and sometimes we need to go through Good Friday in order to get to Easter…as it is only after we have walked through the darkness that we can truly appreciate the light!
Jesus knew that he had not been abandoned by God, and in his cry he was really praising God, and asking for the support and faith he needed to endure the torture of the cross…for it is through Jesus dying in weakness on that dark Friday afternoon, that God could come to us with salvation in the triumph of Easter morning!
This is our good on this Good Friday: that no matter how dark our days may become, the light of Easter shines through the darkness…and there is no place that we can find ourselves that is so dark and so lonely that God’s love cannot reach us!!
When we find ourselves in the midst of our lives, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and it seems as if our prayers are not heard, as if we have been left to fend for ourselves, that is when God is carrying us (just like in the ‘footsteps’ poster), seeing us through our tough times, and putting people in our lives that can help us by offering advice or a listening ear!!!
God never forsakes us, always loves us, and is always there for us…much like we are with our children…forgiving them for their wrongs, comforting them when they are sad, celebrating with them when they are happy, and surrounding them with love beyond measure…love born of sacrifice and of hope…filled with the light that shines out from the open tomb on Easter morning!
Let us Pray
Dear Lord, on this Good Friday, we thank you for the sacrifice of Christ…that he would endure the torment of the cross in order to bring us the glory of Easter, that he would experience life as one of us so that we could be reconciled with you and with each other. When times are tough, please help us to remember that you are always with us, and that it is never your will for us to suffer or to know pain. On this day, and every day, let us share the light of Easter with those who have known darkness in their lives…in order to give them the hope that they need in order to see the light in their own lives.